Sci-fi TV series Dark returned to Netflix on June 21, bringing with it a second season jam-packed with new plot twists, new time periods, and a deeper exploration of how all of the characters living in the rural town of Winden, Germany are connected.
Dark premiered on Netflix in December 2017, with Season 2 arriving in June, and the third and final season set to premiere some time in 2020. Spanning multiple time periods and involving a vast array of characters, Netflix’s Dark starts as the simple story of a town trying to find three missing boys who seemed to vanish into thin air. As different characters go off in search of the boys, certain truths come to light revealing that each respective member from four local families have bigger parts to play than they realized in the past, present, and future of Winden.
There are so many different faces to put to a single name which are introduced across different time periods throughout Seasons 1 and 2. Let’s take a look at the characters from each of the Winden’s four key families — the Kahnwalds, the Nielsens, the Tiedemanns, and the Dopplers — and break down who’s who and when each version of the same character is introduced.
Warning: Huge spoilers ahead for Dark Season 2.
Ines Kahnwald: We first meet Ines in 2019 in the immediate aftermath of her son Michael’s death by suicide. Ines is deep in grief and is often seen in 2019 alone in her apartment. Dark also shows Ines in 1986 and later, in 1987, working as a nurse at the Winden hospital where she eventually meets Mikkel Nielsen (later revealed to be her son, Michael).
Michael Kahnwald: Michael is the Kahnwald family patriarch who dies by suicide at the beginning on Dark Season 1. For most of the first season, it’s unclear why Michael took his own life as his family was left reeling in the wake of his death. It’s not until late in Season 1 we learn that Michael is actually a grown-up Mikkel Nielsen and in Season 2, it’s revealed Michael’s son, Jonas, tragically planted the seeds of Michael’s eventual death by suicide in his head while believing he could prevent it.
Hannah Kahnwald: Hannah is first introduced in Dark Season 1 a few months after the death of her husband, Michael. Hannah has been having an affair with her childhood friend, Ulrich Nielsen, and doesn’t seem as visibly distraught as, say, her son Jonas about Michael’s death. A younger Hannah from 1986 is also introduced in Season 1 and it’s established she has always had her eye on Ulrich and has schemed for years to find ways to get him all to herself and away from his high school sweetheart Katharina. Hannah moves away from petty dramas in Season 1 and becomes more involved with the machinations of time travel after Jonas, as an adult, comes to see her in 2020 and explain what’s going on.
Jonas Kahnwald: Jonas is seen at three different stages of his life throughout Seasons 1 and 2 of Dark. He’s introduced in Season 1 as a teenager still grieving his father’s death. Through Seasons 1 and 2, we are also introduced to adult Jonas from 2052, who has been traveling through time and working with the elder Claudia Tiedemann to stop the shadowy group known as Sic Mundus and make sure his younger self from 2019 is put on the same path to heroism 2052 Jonas has been on.
Ulrich Nielsen: There are three Ulrichs who are introduced in Seasons 1 and 2. The first Ulrich we meet is the middle-aged Ulrich from 2019. He’s a cop with the Winden police department and is quickly sucked into searching for his missing son, Mikkel. Season 1 also reveals 1986 Ulrich, a high school rebel who has more run-ins with the law than almost any other Winden teen. In Season 2, an elder Ulrich is introduced in 1987. Ulrich got stuck in 1953 after traveling back further than expected in Season 1. He was arrested by Egon Tiedemann after he was suspected of kidnapping local kids and killing Helge Doppler and we learn he was later transferred to Winden’s local psychiatric ward having maintained for years he was from the future. As such, Ulrich’s timeline becomes a little wonky because, by Season 2, he exists both as a 70-something-year-old man and a teenager in 1987.
Katharina Nielsen: Katharina is Ulrich’s high school sweetheart and wife. She is first seen in 2019 as the principal of Winden’s high school and mother of three. She is also introduced in Season 1 as a teenager in 1986. Katharina’s a bit more of a mean girl in her younger years, exhibiting some rude tendencies while unknowingly interacting with her future son, Mikkel, when he appears in 1986. Katharina becomes consumed with finding Mikkel by the time Season 2 rolls around and could potentially be going back to 1987 as her adult self in Season 3.
Magnus Nielsen: Magnus is seen for the majority of Seasons 1 and 2 and his teenage self. He’s the eldest son of Ulrich and Katharina, the boyfriend of Franziska Doppler, and because his younger brother Mikkel gets stuck in 1986 in Season 1, Magnus is Jonas’s uncle as well as his childhood friend. He is briefly seen at the end of Season 2 as one of the two Sic Mundus adults who help Adam to open the wormhole in 1921, setting off the chain reaction which eventually causes the Winden nuclear power plant to go into meltdown.
Martha Nielsen: Martha hold a special place in the Dark cast. She is the girlfriend of Bartosz Tiedemann, both the love interest and aunt of Jonas (thanks to Mikkel’s disappearance back into 1986), and quite possibly the savior of the established timeline in the series thanks to the appearance of a version of her from an alternate dimension at the end of Season 2. Her alternate dimension self appears to be the same age as the established Martha, who is a teenager in 2019 in Seasons 1 and 2.
Mikkel Nielsen: Mikkel is the youngest child of Ulrich and Katharina who disappears into the Winden caves in Season 1 and ends up in 1986. Mikkel isn’t sure how to get home and is later adopted by nurse Ines Kahnwald. It’s revealed that Mikkel stays in the ‘80s, has his name changed to Michael Kahnwald, and goes on to be the father of Jonas.
Egon Tiedemann: Egon is introduced in Season 1 as a man in his late 60s/early 70s in 1986. He’s a grizzled veteran police officer who is alerted to some strange goings-on in Winden when Mikkel shows up looking for his parents and saying he’s from the future. Later in Season 1, we travel back to 1953 and meet Egon, now is his mid-late 30s. He’s still a police officer and is dealing with the mysterious appearance of the bodies of two unidentified children found on the construction site of the future Winden nuclear power plant. It’s also revealed in the 1953 timeline that Egon is the father of Claudia.
Claudia Tiedemann: Claudia is the daughter of Egon, mother of Regina, and grandmother of Bartosz. She’s first seen as an elderly woman hopping around through time and trying to combat the time-traveling group known as Sic Mundus in Season 1. She is later seen in her 40s in 1986 and is established as the new director of the Winden nuclear power plant. Later in Season 1, Claudia is shown as a girl of about 10 or 11 who tutors Helge Doppler and develops a friendship with Tronte Nielsen, father of Ulrich, who moves to Winden with his mother, Agnes.
Regina Tiedemann: Regina is established to be the mother of Bartosz and wife of Aleksander in Season 1. She is first seen in 2019 as the owner of the Winden Waldhotel and is seen later in the season as a nerdy high schooler in 1986 who is bullied mercilessly by Katharina. It’s revealed in Season 1 that she has terminal cancer, which we see her dealing with in 2020 during Season 2.
Aleksander Tiedemann: Aleksander is Regina’s husband and Bartosz’s father. Aleksander is introduced at the director of the nuclear power plant in 2019. We don’t see too much of him in Season 1 but it’s revealed he arrived in Winden in 1986 at age 21 under mysterious, criminal circumstances.
Bartosz Tiedemann: Bartosz is introduced in 2019 as a teenager. He is the son of Regina and Aleksander, Jonas’s best friend, Martha’s boyfriend, and soon starts working for Sic Mundus member Noah. It’s implied Bartosz will be a pivotal member of Sic Mundus in the future when he is saved from the power plant meltdown by the older Jonas at the end of Season 2 and transported with Magnus and Franziska back in time.
Helge Doppler: Helge Doppler is the son of Bernd Doppler, the mastermind of the Winden nuclear power plant, and Peter’s father. Helge is first introduced as an old man living out his life in the Winden rest home for the elderly in Season 1. Through the season, we also meet a middle-aged Helge in 1986, who is revealed to be working with Sic Mundus’ Noah to steal children from different time periods and experimenting on them. We also flash back to 1953 and meet Helge as a young boy who pines for Claudia and is brutally beaten almost to death by 2019 Ulrich. A young Helge encounters time travel for the first time in 1953 in the bunker at his family’s cabin when he is sucked through a time window to 1986. Helge ends up killing himself after traveling, as an elderly man, to warn his 1986 self to stop working with Noah and later getting into a car crash with his younger self one stormy night.
Peter Doppler: Peter is the son of Helge, husband of Charlotte, and father of Franziska and Elisabeth. We only ever see Peter in the present day (2019-2020) in Seasons 1 and 2. He works as a therapist in Winden who, by Season 2, is working with Charlotte to learn more about time travel and what it means for the future of the town.
Charlotte Doppler: Charlotte is the adopted granddaughter of local clock repairman and author H.G. Tannahaus as well as the wife of Peter and mother of Franziska and Elisabeth. Charlotte is Winden’s chief of police who, in Season 1, is hot on the case of the recently disappeared Mikkel Nielsen. By Season 2, she is working with Peter to learn more about time travel after connecting the dots in Season 1. So far, we’ve only ever seen Charlotte as an adult.
Franziska Doppler: Franziska is the oldest daughter of Peter and Charlotte, big sister to Elisabeth, and Magnus Nielsen’s girlfriend. She is introduced as a teenager in 2019 and for the majority of Seasons 1 and 2, is only ever seen as a teenager. At the end of Season 2, it’s implied she is one of the adult members of Sic Mundus living and working for Adam from their headquarters in 1921.
Elisabeth Doppler: Elisabeth is the youngest daughter of Peter and Charlotte and Franziska’s sister. We meet Elisabeth when she is about 7 or 8 years old in 2019. At the start of Season 2, it’s revealed Elisabeth survived the nuclear apocalypse in Winden and is the leader of the survivors in 2053. At the end of the season, she is seen touching hands with Charlotte through a time window and could potentially be transported through time because of that.
Other Characters Of Note
Adam: Adam is the leader of the time-traveling group Sic Mundus (named after the phrase “Sic Mundus Creatus Est”, which translates to “Thus, the world was created” and which is seen in texts and inscribed on the doors in the Winden caves). He is an old man when he is introduced in Season 2 but it’s difficult to say how old he is because extensive time travel has left him physically scarred. Adam is revealed to be the oldest version of Jonas, having traveled through time but settling down in 1921 Winden.
Noah: Noah is Adam’s right-hand man through Seasons 1 and 2. Regardless of the year, Noah is frequently seen as a man in his 40s and dressed as a local pastor. Noah was born in Winden some time at the turn of the century and began working with Adam as a teenager in 1921 — something we learn in Season 2. At the end of the second season, it is teenage Noah who ends up in the bunker alongside the young Elisabeth, her father Peter, 1987 Claudia, and 2019 Regina to wait out the apocalypse and it’s implied teenage Noah and Elisabeth will form a connection as two of the few survivors of the power plant meltdown.
Agnes: We first meet Agnes in Season 1. She moves to Winden in 1953 with her son, Tronte. Agnes and Tronte are given directions into town by 2019 Ulrich, who is shaken at the sight of meeting his father as a young boy and his grandmother as a woman in her 30s. In Season 2, we learn Agnes is the younger sister of Noah and has possibly time traveled a little bit because she, like her brother, was also born at the turn of the century in Winden and is approximately 10 or 11 years old when we see her in 1921. The math doesn’t add up that Agnes is still a young mother by the time 1953 rolls around unless she, like her brother Noah, has managed to jump forward in time slightly and avoid aging.
H.G. Tannhaus: A local clockmaker and repairman living in Winden. He is the author of A Journey Through Time, the pivotal text used by Sic Mundus, Ulrich, the elder Claudia, and older Jonas to navigate time travel. He interacts with the elder Claudia, 1987 Claudia, the older Jonas, and 2019 Ulrich both in 1953 and 2019. It’s also revealed in Season 2 he is the adoptive grandfather of Charlotte,
Dark Seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream on Netflix.